Today’s topic is an interesting one: Religion. Here’s the prompt:
Would you consider yourself a religious person? Quite simply- what do you believe happens when you die? Have you always believed this? Do your current beliefs align with what you were taught as a child? And if not, what was the turning point? This week, talk about your religion or spiritual beliefs (or perhaps your lack of), and try to sum up, if you can, what you believe happens “next.”
I don’t believe there’s a black & white answer to whether or not you’re a religious person. If someone were to come up to me on the street and ask if I was religious, my immediate response would be “No.” But, that’s not to say I don’t believe that death isn’t just the end.
Growing up, I wasn’t exposed to church, but I was aware of Christianity and the idea of God and Jesus. I took part in the annual Christmas play, which always had religious themes, and went to youth group, although that was mostly for hanging out with my friends and playing games. Still, although I partook in these activities, I still wasn’t sold on the idea of God, Jesus and the Pearly Gates after you die. My mom was apparently baptized, and my grandma believed in the idea of God, but none of this was preached to my brother or I.
That being said, I’m not sure what happens when you die – but is anyone? I have a hard time believing that there are angels looking out for us and keeping us safe, but I find the idea of spirits interesting in a creepy kind of way. (Maybe I’ve watched too much Long Island Medium).
I’ve heard that to really feel the full “effects” of spirits and such, you really have to believe in them, not just want to believe in them. There’s always some kind of article floating around the internet about “pennies from heaven,” where the spirit of a loved one who has passed leaves a penny for you in a specific spot to let you know that they’re watching down on you. Since my grandma passed away suddenly a couple years ago, I’ve thought a lot about that idea and whether or not her spirit is watching over her family. I’m always looking for some kind of sign that she is, but it feels like I’m grabbing at straws sometimes. I’ve never seen any signs, no notions, just the memory of her in my mind.
So, back to the question of what I think happens to you when you die. I like to think that reincarnation may happen: that we come back into the world as another living thing, be it a tree, an animal or another human, unaware of who we were in a past life. If you’re an overall good people in life, perhaps you come back as another good person, or something beneficial to humankind, like a tree. If you’re a dirty scumbag, maybe you come back as a wart on a toad.
But reincarnation, just like an afterlife in Heaven or Hell, or floating amongst the living as a haunting spirit (or maybe a friendly ghost à la Casper), is just an idea. I don’t believe we’ll ever truly know of what happens when it’s lights out forever, but I do respect other people’s beliefs in what they think happens.